Parenting

Are Fathers Necessary?

Father’s Day seems to bring this question up more often every year.  After years of sitcoms and advertisements usually showing fathers as well meaning dunderheads, and divorce courts seeing fathers as primarily “money-making machines,” there does seem to be a wide spread sense in our society that fathers are incidental.  Many seem to have the attitude that they might be nice to have around, but the real work of raising a child is done by the mother, to the extent that some feel a single mother can provide everything a child needs to grow up into a mature adult.

This attitude of dismissing the importance of the father to their children does a child no service.  A fatherless home sometimes cannot be avoided, and more power to the mothers (and fathers) that tackle the job of a single parent, but this is not the ideal for a child.  It is better for a child to have both a loving mother and a loving father.

The Gurian Institute, writing under the umbrella of Rocky Mountain Learning Enterprises, Colorado, wrote a response in their email letter July 10th to an article that appeared in a national magazine for Father’s Day making the case that fathers were relatively useless.  The Institute published a number of statistics showing that children are in greater risk in a number of ways when raised in a fatherless home.  Many examples can be found by simply entering into a search engine the term “Children Raised Without Fathers.’  Some of the examples that will come up might include:

63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (US Dept. Of Health/Census) – 5 times the average.

90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the average.

85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average.  (Center for Disease Control)

71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average.  (National Principals Association Report).

70% of youths in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average.  (U.S. Dept. of Justice).

85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average.  (Fulton Co. Georgia, Texas Dept. of Correction).

This is something to think about the next time you see some article, sitcom, movie or advertisement depicting fathers as somebody to not take serious. Those are some scary statistics, but I imagine if anyone reading it thinks about people they know who have had those problems, a lot of them come from fatherless homes.

What do you think?

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